"We don't care what you guys say": Marner trying to ignore media pressure on Leafs
Down 3-0 to the Florida Panthers in the second round, the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying their best to not let pessimism take over.
Leafs forward Mitch Marner, in particular, seems to be adamant about keeping the noise out — especially when it comes to criticism from Toronto media.
“We don’t care what you guys say; we don’t listen to you guys outside of this locker room,” Marner calmly told reporters after practice on Tuesday. “We’re just focused on ourselves.”
With pressure mounting and Toronto’s season on the line, the 26-year-old says he’s been telling teammates to ignore distractions like social media.
“Don’t focus on outside noise. Don’t focus on (…) anything on social media, like I’ve been preaching all year long,” Marner explained. “And don’t listen to what you guys [reporters] are saying.”
Marner is averaging over a point per game in these playoffs, with 12 points over his past nine postseason games.
Unfortunately, that production has slowed down as of late — when the Leafs seemingly need it most. Over his past five games, the Markham, Ontario, native has been goalless, putting up just one assist against the Panthers.
When asked about the recent lack of production from core forwards like Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares, and Marner, head coach Sheldon Keefe was quick to defend his stars.
“Those guys carried us offensively through the Tampa series,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re here, playing largely on the backs of how they came through for us in those moments. They’ll come through for us again.”
As for whether he thinks Toronto can make the epic comeback necessary to win the series, Keefe says it’s best to just focus on one game at a time.
“I don’t think it makes any sense for us to sit here and focus on coming all the way back,” said the coach. “There’s only one game on the schedule right now. Let’s focus on that one game.”
Game 4 between the Leafs and Panthers goes Wednesday at 7 pm ET.